The Sunday Herald Sun's so-called "Special Report" on the Department of Defence is full of generalisations and inaccuracies that are offensive to the military and the public servants who support them, Defence Minister Robert Hill said today.
In a letter to the newspaper, Senator Hill said while it was difficult to respond to broad statements, he would be happy to address specific allegations if the journalist had the courtesy to put them to him.
"For example, your report is misleading in relation to security clearances," Senator Hill said. "While there is a backlog, the changed security environment has required new levels of assessment which are being progressed as quickly as possible.
"In relation to ammunition, the Chief of the Defence Force advises the Government on ammunition requirements and ensures that our military are properly provided for in terms of training and operations.
"The allegations in relation to HMAS Cerberus have been extensively and independently investigated and the findings do not support your conclusions.
"I have heard no complaint about the support the Special Forces received while in Afghanistan.
"Allegations of widespread theft are not only inaccurate but also extremely offensive.
"Many of the general issues you have raised have been extensively canvassed in Senate estimates committees and elsewhere for a long time.
"Defence is a large and complex organisation and there will always be instances that taken out of context will lead to criticism. The Government is committed to remedying faults and overcoming deficiencies where these occur.
"The reputation of the Australian Defence Force is second to none. They are doing a fantastic job at a time of high operational tempo and are ably supported by a capable and committed Defence organisation.
"The "Special Report", with so many gross inaccuracies and misrepresentations, is unfair and offensive to all who serve in these uncertain times." (ends)
Click here to read the original story on the Herald Sun website